Thursday, December 10, 2009

02009 New Year's Resolution #37: Swallow the Self-Publishing Pill

I spent some time today doing a bit of research on various tools for self-publishing. The reason: My thirty-seventh New Year's Resolution of 02009:

I resolve to get around to formatting and self-publishing my 02005 novella, in hopes that it might find an audience.

I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in 02005. I was not a "winner" because instead of ending up with a 50,000 word "short novel", I only managed to write a 40,000 word novella.

I suppose it's fair to say that I didn't really fully embrace the "reckless abandon" aspect of the activity. Instead of throwing in a random plot line to continue my story (and thus increase my word count) beyond what felt like a reasonable stopping point, I stopped typing. The result was a cohesive piece of fiction that I am proud to have written. Had I gone the other route, I might've gotten a certain satisfaction from "winning" NaNoWriMo, but I am sure that it would not have really compared to the satisfaction I got from "being true to my vision". I am sure of this because I am familiar with my own nature.

Being familiar with my own nature, I am also quite sure that I'm terribly unlikely ever to seek out a literary agent or to go to the trouble (and through the inevitable frustration) of submitting my manuscript to publisher after publisher in hopes that one of them might like my story enough to want to publish it.

Nonetheless, I do think that it's a decent (if not great) piece of fiction. I think that it's the sort of thing that can likely find an appreciative audience if given an opportunity. (My sister liked it plenty, anyway.)

When I wrote the thing, just over four years ago, self publishing was about the last thing I would have expected to ever consider doing with it. "Self publishing" was, in my mind, exactly the same as "vanity publishing" and it carried an immense stigma. If I were to try to explain this stigma, it would probably come across as arrogant and mean spirited. Perhaps it's best to avoid that.

Anyway, over the course of these four years, my mind has changed (I think in response to a change in the publishing universe) and now I am at the point of being mentally prepared to do it without any reservations.

I expect I'll probably go with Lulu for making hard copies available (partly because they'll give me a free copy and partly because they throw in a free ISBN and a listing on Amazon). As for e-book distribution, I'm thinking I'll likely go through Feedbooks. If you have self-published or if you have looked into it yourself, I'd be happy to entertain suggestions for alternatives, particularly if you can make compelling arguments in favor of some other outlet or in opposition to these.

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